Interesting perspectives here. Curious, I would recommend going to a higher ranked school out of state. utlaw2007 may be right that smaller or mid firms recruit at UT quite heavily, but 23% biglaw is not a very strong showing. Compare that to 34% at Michigan or 45% at Duke (numbers are from lawschooltransparency.com school profiles). That might not sound like too big a difference, but that's like 40-80 more students that schools place in biglaw. There were quite a few Texas firms that interviewed at our OCI. I think going to one of those law schools would give you the flexibility of pursuing Texas biglaw in addition to other markets. The Texas market did not seem overly focused on UT students; I think it is misleading to say that they are at the front of the line. Anyone with substantive Texas ties would be able to make their case to an interviewer (I thought the DC interviews I had were the most focused on regional ties, rather than the Texas interviews ).
Also, I must reiterate this point I have made before, please make sure you interpret those biglaw numbers correctly. I'm not saying that half the class could go biglaw at Texas. But to say that only 23% of UT grads could get biglaw assumes that all UT grads want biglaw as their ultimate destination. And that is just not accurate and represents a flaw in interpreting data. The cost of living in Texas is far cheaper than that on the east coast or Chicago. Biglaw is not a necessary option to pay off debt and live comfortably in Texas like it is on the east coast. Therefore, people who go to east coast schools are seeking biglaw more aggressively than UT Law grads. I can cite anecdotal evidence which means very little. But I can also cite that east coast cost of living is far greater than Texas which is an obvious fact. Those extra expenses have to be accounted for in the type of income you could receive from prospective employers. Thus, you favor potential employers who could pay you enough money to cover these expenses. In Texas, that is not nearly as big a consideration as it is on both coasts because those extra expenses in the form of higher cost of living don't exist.
And I don't think it is at all misleading to say that UT grads comprise the bulk of recruiting at smaller Texas biglaw firms that pay at or around market. Most firms around the country largely recruit locally. It's cheaper, why wouldn't they? And Texas based firms are no different. As I have stated before, these firms probably didn't recruit at your OCI. So how would you even know about these firms? I have specified repeatedly that there is a big difference in biglaw firm approaches to what types of law school graduates they want to recruit.
What I find troubling about this site is its failure to distinguish among things that are superficially similar and the lack of realization that numbers paint partial pictures of the complete picture of what may be happening. I'm not advocating that one explanation is more likely than the other. I have no idea. What I am advocating is that if one is going to use information to help shed light on a decision, that information should be correctly interpreted. And the words I use should not be glossed over or substituted with words that are deficient at conveying the meaning I was expressing.
That 23% number does not include some firms that are technically biglaw in Texas that some UT Law grads choose for employment over biglaw. That number reflects the NLJ250. I'm not counting boutiques because I assume those numbers cancel themselves out among the top schools. Some Texas firms that are technically biglaw are not a part of that list, like Brown McCarroll for example. But again, Biglaw is not sought after by UT Law grads in the same way it is by east coast students. For example, I had law school classmate friend from Austin. She was offered a position at Baker Botts, one of Texas' most prestigious firms, and a midsize firm. She chose the midsize firm. The midsize firm is not on the NJL250 list. Yet she could have taken the Baker Botts offer. She didn't. Texas' cost of living allows for some UT Law grads to self select out of Biglaw. I can use myself as another example. I can use several people as examples. Those numbers are only completely accurate if the assumption that everyone wants biglaw more than anything else is correct. It's not correct. So when you evaluate UT's 23% against 34% from a school that is more expensive to attend than UT (the significance of that is that more of the other school's grads are shooting for biglaw to pay their debt and most of the jobs available to that school's grads are located in high cost of living areas), the difference is minimal and pretty much a wash.
I also find it funny that someone else's anecdotal evidence is implied to be superior to my anecdotal evidence. Both are suspect and should be viewed as such, equally. We don't get to pick and choose what evidence should count just because it sounds better to us. When evaluating hard evidence, all factors and realistically possible explanations should be considered.